Sole Representative visa holders are eligible for extension and Settlement

Sole Representative visa route otherwise called Overseas Business Representative visa has now been closed for new applicants and replaced by Global Business Mobility Expansion Worker visa. Only Sole Representative visa extension applications and Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR’s) of the existing visa holders are allowed.

It is important that the Sole Representative visa extensions and ILR applicants tread carefully when preparing the applications. We’ve noticed that for sometime now the Home Office make detailed checks of all the aspects of the eligibility criteria. We wrote a separate blog warning the applicants of this increased scrutiny.

Sole Representative visa extension and Indefinite Leave to Remain ILR applications


The initial Sole Representative visa is granted for 3 years and it can be extended for a further 2 years. Dependant spouse and children can apply to extend their visas in line with the Sole Representative. To receive the Sole Representative visa extension the following key requirements need to be met:

  • the UK business must be registered as a branch or a wholly owned subsidiary,
  • the UK business must be actively trading (generating business in the UK),
  • the company’s headquarters and principal place of business must remain overseas,
  • the Sole Representative employee must still be required for their role and continue as the most senior employee in the UK with full authority to take operational decisions,
  • the Sole Representative must be in receipt of a salary from their employer.


After 5 years’ continuous residence in the UK, the Sole Representative visa holder may qualify for Settlement/Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK and subsequently for British citizenship. Dependant spouse and children can also apply for Settlement in line with the Sole Representative and then for British citizenship. 

To qualify for ILR the Sole Representative visa holder must still continue to meet the requirements as set out above for the visa extension and in addition will also need to:

  • have sufficient knowledge of English language and life in the UK (Pass the Life in the UK Test and provide the specified evidence of English language);
  • have a continuous period of five years’ residence in the UK;
  • not have been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any of the five years prior to the date of application.


To qualify for British citizenship the applicant must normally:

  • already hold an ILR for at least 1 year,
  • not have been absent from the UK for more than 450 days during the 5 years preceding the application,
  • not have been absent in the final for more than 90 days,
  • be of good character.